I get knocked down–I get up again!

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Have you ever felt like this Bozo punching bag toy? Remember having one of these as a kid? You put water in the bottom and you can punch it and it’ll pop right back up…

That’s how I felt today. Like a Bozo punching bag.

I was standing up straight this morning. I had my quiet time, and I was feeling good.  But over the course of the morning, my patience started to wear thin, and all of the sudden I was knocked down!!!! I didn’t pop right back up. I got in the bed and sobbed. After about 45 minutes, I got back up.

A couple hours later, I got knocked back down. Again, I didn’t pop right back up. My little Bozo punching bag was pretty deflated. I was feeling very defeated. My husband and the kids went to the gym, and I laid in the bed (once again) feeling very down. I was knocked down, and I did NOT feel like getting back up again. Actually, a couple times I tried to get back up, walked around the house, moved to the sitting room…but ended back up in the bed. Y’all….I was feeling like something had knocked the life out of me….and I had no idea why?!

But I can tell you one thing…..at 5:00pm I decided that I had had enough! This was ridiculous. Satan was not going to win this war! I got out of my bed, stomped around my empty house and told satan to beat it! My prayer went something like this:

GOD! I NEED YOU!!!!!!! Restore my joy……take these feelings of guilt and failure away! Satan, I REBUKE YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST! Get out of this house!!!!!!!!!!!!

After that, I straightened the house up a little bit, put on my shoes, and left the house to conquer some errands that I had been putting off. I was NOT going to lose this war that I had been fighting all day.

Good try, satan. But my God is bigger….and His strength is made perfect in my weakness!

 

Goodnight, friends!

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Expectations can downplay blessings

So, the last blog I wrote about our marriage actually covered years 1-7. I’ll pick up there today and share about how we celebrated our 10 year anniversary (which was yesterday).

We moved from Seminary in 2013 because Michael had another job offer in Pearl, MS. He was leaving Farm Bureau for the opportunity to live where we wanted to live. We moved to Brandon, but we weren’t able to close on our house before the kids started school. So….we moved into our camper. For 6 weeks. Now, I know people have experienced worse things, but this was a hard time. It started out fun!! I mean, we loved to camp! But normally it was a few nights at a time. Not 6 weeks straight!!!! By the end of the six weeks, we were all on eachother’s nerves. My anxiety was through the roof. And we were just ready to get out! Needless to say, after we moved into our house, we put a for sale sign on the camper! haha!

Once we got settled in the house, everything was great! It was everything we EXPECTED it would be. A nice house, great neighborhood, good job, amazing school, awesome church…I mean, life was really good. I started working a year later. I was able to help people with design services and it was a lot of fun. About 9 months after starting with ALFA, Michael went back to Farm Bureau. Still….life was really good.

However….a pattern we’ve seen over and over in our marriage is that when we start getting too settled and comfortable, God changes our direction. I’ve grown to learn that once things are just how I EXPECT them to be, God makes sure that I’m not missing His potential blessings.

So, long story short–Michael quit his job, started his own independent insurance agency, we sold our house and downsized, pulled the kids out of private school, started homeschooling, and yeah….that’s our current situation in a nutshell. It’s definitely not where we EXPECTED to be 2 years after moving to Brandon…but it’s where we are. And we are SO blessed! We’re blessed because God is at work. And His blessings are so much better than our expectations.

Alright, let’s talk about this 10 year anniversary trip. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some pictures of our trip. But for those of you who don’t know….we left last Monday and hit the road for a Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dive’s road trip!! We stopped in Memphis that day for lunch, and then headed to Nashville. We stayed in Nashville for 2 nights and had a BLAST! I learned that I’m no good at riding a bike in a big city. I got to sing Achy Breaky Heart with the man himself! We had good food and listened to good music. We laughed and relaxed. And then on Wednesday, we hit the road again. We drove to Lexington, KY. No rest for the weary though. We headed right to dinner. After this meal, we started realizing that we were getting pretty full….and still had 3 days of eating to do!! Ahhhhh!!! We left Lexington the next morning and made a quick stop in West Virginia to eat a hillbilly hotdog. LOL! And let me just say….it was the hillbilliest place I’ve ever been to! But it was yummy food and good company. This next leg of the trip was the longest. We drove 5 hours to Asheville, NC. Once we got there, we had about an hour of downtime before dinner. This meal was by far our favorite. It was a Spanish tapas restaurant. SO yummy! After dinner, we went and had dessert (because at this point-we just couldn’t stop eating!) and then we walked through downtown and enjoyed the atmosphere and live music. Just being together was awesome. It was everything I had EXPECTED this trip to be!

Until Friday….Our actual anniversary….

We woke up that morning in a good mood and excited about heading to Atlanta. It was a pretty quick trip. We got there at 2, and had anniversary pics scheduled for 6:30. I wanted to get my hair done and Michael wanted a hair cut. What was supposed to be a relaxing afternoon turned into a pretty rushed one. Michael and I went our separate ways, and that’s when my mind started forming all these EXPECTATIONS. Something like this…

“I bet Michael is going to surprise me when I get back to the hotel room.”

“I bet he’ll have flowers and champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting.”

“I bet he’s made reservations at a fancy restaurant.”

“I can’t wait to get back to the hotel and see all the surprises he’s come up with”

I mean, it IS our 10 year anniversary….surely he’s got big things planned.

I got back to the hotel room to finish getting ready for pics, and he was there sitting in a chair on his phone. All ready for pics….just waiting on me to get ready. {insert: he was looking smokin hot!} So, I started putting my make up on…..wondering where the champagne and strawberries were….getting a little aggravated…..I started getting dressed….wondering where my flowers were…..getting a little more aggravated. So, I finally asked him where we were going to eat after our pictures. And he says “Oh, I don’t know? I haven’t made any reservations. Let me go down and ask the concierge what he recommends.” Umm….seriously?!!??!?! Ok, Tonya, calm down. It’s ok. Don’t let this get you in a bad mood. It’s fine.

We met the photographer in a park at Atlanta and the pictures were so fun. It actually helped my mood a lot, and I was ready for dinner. But….a switched flipped when we got to the restaurant. If you’re a woman, you know the switch I’m talking about. Good mood-Bad mood-Good mood-Bad mood–Dang hormones!!! Michael immediately started asking me what was wrong. I told him nothing. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned in 10 years of marriage it’s communication. So, I told him what was on my mind. I could tell he felt awful that he didn’t live up to my EXPECTATIONS. But my willingness to communicate how I was feeling led to a great conversation. Michael started pointing out that he didn’t think to do any of those things because the whole week has been a celebration of our marriage. Not just that day. The whole week had been nothing but us enjoying eachother, experiencing new things, and not one single argument or fight had come up. And here I am, about to let these stupid EXPECTATIONS ruin a trip that has been the biggest blessing! I was NOT going to let that happen. He was so right. It wasn’t about “stuff”…..it was about our time together. Gosh, I love when he helps me put things into perspective.

And that’s what I want to leave you with today. I can look back at our marriage and see that when I start letting EXPECTATIONS fill my head….I start missing out on the blessings that are all around me.

No, we’re not a perfect couple. We do still argue and get mad. But the arguments and bad moods are a lot fewer than they used to be. We’ve learned a lot over the past 10 years. But it’s because we sought it out. You can’t put a book on your head and expect to be smarter. You have to open the book. And The Book that we’ve found that helps our marriage the most is The Bible. It’s not just a book…it’s an instruction manual for life.

Well…..we’re about an hour from home. WOOHOO! We are so excited to hug our babies and sleep in our own bed. Thanks for taking this trip with us. I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures and posts….and I pray that God will use something I’ve said in these blogs to encourage you to fight for your marriage!

Have a great day, friends!

Our Marriage: Years 1-3

I really have no idea where to start. I just figured I’d break down the last 10 years of marriage, little by little. And let me just clarify that I’m not writing these marriage posts from the point of view that I’ve figured it all out….or that we’ve got this perfect marriage. Because we don’t. I just want to share our story in hopes that it will encourage you to fight for your marriage. Marriage. is. hard. And if you’re not willing to fight for it, it won’t work.

Michael and I dated for 2 years, and then we found out that we were expecting. So, things got hard and complicated real quick. We both knew that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, and expecting a baby was a blessing. But because we stepped outside of God’s will, life got hard. And scary.

We got married when I was 5 months pregnant. It wasn’t my “fairytale wedding”….I mean, how could it be? I couldn’t pick out any wedding dress that I wanted. I had to pick out one that fit my bump and that also flattered me somewhat. We went to the Bahamas for our honeymoon, which was amazing. But still, not what it could’ve been. I had morning sickness, and other pregnancy related stuff.

When we got home, we moved into our single wide trailer. I was still at USM trying to finish my degree. Michael was working a commission only job. And we were PO’FOLKS! We were 2 young newly weds just trying to survive. Not as “blissful” as I had imagined.

I had Abby 5 months later. She was the sweetest little blessing in the world. But…we were barely making enough money for the 2 of us. Now we had another mouth to feed. And we knew nothing about being parents. We barely knew anything about being married. Spring classes started back up literally 2 weeks after I had Abby. I wasn’t giving up. I was determined to finish. We got involved in a church, joined a small group, and man….those friends in our small group carried us through the next several months. {insert: surrounding yourself with the right people is CRUCIAL!}

Michael and I needed encouragement from friends. We had just entered a season of life that we knew nothing about, and if we hadn’t had those Christian friends, we would’ve never made it! I want to camp here for a minute. Because surrounding yourself with the right people is SO important in life….and in marriage. Throughout our  marriage, I can pinpoint a lot of our ups and downs to who we were hanging out with at the time. Now, I’m not putting blame on other people for stupid decisions that we’ve made….but when you let others into your life, they will influence you in either positive or negative ways. If your marriage is on the rocks, re-evaluate who’s in your influential circle.

Ok, so for the sake of time, let’s fast forward a little…..

We moved from Hattiesburg when Abby was 6 months old, we moved into my in-laws pool house because still….we were PO’FOLKS! I was still trying to finish up school, Michael took a job that required him to be gone a.lot. and I let someone into my “influential circle” that had no right being there! This person started driving a wedge in between me and Michael and we started fighting a lot. I didn’t feel loved or appreciated. Several months later, we had hit our first major wall in our marriage. We went to a Christian counselor and got some help on how to navigate through this. {insert: it is OK to seek out professional help! Godly help. Don’t let friends or family members counsel you. That’s not what they’re there for}

We got over that hurdle and realized that we needed to get plugged in to a church. Sure enough God brought some amazing people to surround us, love us, and encourage us. We started falling in love with each other again, and started falling in love with The Lord again.

But then…..a couple years later, we hit another wall. A very familiar wall. All because someone entered our “influential circle” that didn’t belong there. {insert: when walls start coming up in your marriage, figure out who’s building them}. We sought out help again, but this time God had other plans. Michael and I both had good jobs, and we loved being in Brookhaven, but Michael had a chance for a promotion. It just required us to move.

Long story, short. We moved to Seminary, MS. We knew no one. We got involved in a church, and had a good group of friends that loved on us and our family (We did have another child at this point. Totally forgot to mention that! Lol!) However, we didn’t “hang out” with friends like we had been. BUT…..we spent SO much (needed) time together. Our marriage grew leaps and bounds. And I fell so in love with Michael Bishop that my heart could burst! God put us in Seminary for 3 years so that we could reconnect. And I am so thankful for that time.

Well….we just got to Bowling Green, Kentucky. And we’re about to tour the Corvette Museum. {insert: I am a Corvette junkie! I’ve loved them since I was old enough to say Corvette. So, I’m pretty pumped about this stop!} I’ll write again soon. And we’ll talk about the next few years of our marriage. But if you didn’t get anything out of this post today, I hope you’ll just remember that God loves you. He has a plan for your marriage. Seek Him. Seek Godly friends. And fight for your marriage. It’s so worth it!

Have a great day, friends!

Who wants to go on a road trip!?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but there’s a big topic that I haven’t written about yet.

MARRIAGE.

I’ve had someone request this topic, but I figured I’d save it for our 10 year anniversary. We will celebrate this “big deal” next Friday, August 26th. But….we’re celebrating all week!

Tomorrow morning, we’ll head out on a 6 day road trip!!!!! Michael and I love to eat…..and we’re big fans of Triple D (Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives). So….we’re road tripping through Mississippi-Tennessee-Kentucky-West Virginia-North Carolina-Georgia-Alabama.

I want y’all to go with us. I will blog the whole week. Sharing stories of our marriage. The ups. The downs. The fun times. And the horrible times. The #reallife of marriage. I’ll also be posting pictures and videos of our trip and our marriage.

Join us on this fun trip……and be encouraged. Marriage is hard. The past 10 years have been a rollercoaster. But the ride has been fun. And with each loop-de-loop, we’ve grown closer together.

So, get some sleep…and stay tuned for our 1st road trip update!

Goodnight, friends! 🙂

When God asks you to do something “dumb”

Several months ago Michael (the hubs) told me that he was feeling led to quit his job {insert: good, stable income} to start his own insurance agency. We knew this would be a huge financial cut for us, so we started praying and making decisions. We put our house on the market, I took a part-time job, I also picked up some houses to clean, we cut back on our monthly expenses, paid off as much debt as possible, and then started praying about the kids’ school. For the past 2 years they have been in a private school. But it wasn’t just a school for us…..it was a family. We LOVE this school and everyone in it. I subbed a lot at this school, so I saw first hand how the Lord was so evident in everything that went on there. That was important to us. Private school is expensive, but my kids being exposed to God on a daily, minute-to-minute basis, is priceless!

However…a few months ago, God started pricking at my heart about homeschooling. Let me just say for the record, I have NEVER been the type to say or think that homeschool would ever be an option!!! I mean, c’mon….I’m not qualified, nor did I care to be. I was totally fine with paying someone else to teach my kids. I was totally ok with my kids being gone from 7:30-2:30….because it gave us all some “me” time and we could spend each afternoon/night together. It was a win/win for everyone. But God didn’t think so. And honestly….neither did our bank account. Something had to change. It was either public school or homeschool. And little by little, God continued to give me a peace about homeschooling my kids. I was excited, and the kids were excited.

But then it happened. Homeschool happened. Brother/sister nagging happened. From sunrise to sunset. And then the first meltdown happened. No, the kids didn’t have a meltdown. Mama did. Last night the weight of everything just overwhelmed me. Do I really have what it takes? Did God really call me to this? Am I going to lose my mind? Have I already? Thankfully my husband saw the meltdown for what it was, and he went to get tacos and wine! We talked, watched a movie, and went to bed in hopes that (today) would bring a fresh perspective.

I started the day off in The Word. We listened to praise music as we ate breakfast. We started our lesson for the day, and everything was going good. Until….Charlotte’s Web. It’s our “Read Aloud” for the month, which means we all read a couple chapters aloud each day together. Today I thought it would be fun to read outside on the front porch. Little did I know that the front porch would provide a lot of distractions, which in turn, led to a lot of frustration. I threw the book down, sent the kids to their rooms, and messaged Michael …..”I can’t do this anymore. The kids are going to public school.” He sent a text back that said “Let’s talk about it tonight.”

Ha. Before we’ve had a chance to sit down and talk about it, God wanted to talk to me about it. We went to church tonight and of course the sermon was just for me. It went a little something like this….

“What to do when life’s too much?” (haha, ok God, you’ve got my attention)

#1-call out to Jesus (ok, check. I’m continuously calling out to you)

#2- do what He says (you’ve told me to homeschool, instead of sending them back to Hartfield or public school. I don’t understand it, and it’s really quite dumb when I sit and think about it. I’m not qualified. I’m not patient. I’m losing my mind. But if it’s what you’ve called me to, I know you’ll send me through. And I know that you don’t call the qualified. You qualify the called.)

#3- give praise and thanks to God (Thank you. Thank you for my 2 beautiful babies. Thank you for their health. Thank you for a supportive husband. Thank you for the resources and people you’ve put in my life. Thank you for who YOU are. Thank you for never leaving me. Thank you for taking this weight off my shoulders and carrying it on yours. I will praise you each day. Through the good times and the bad.)

Sometimes God calls us to do “dumb” things because He wants to test our obedience. Trust and obey. There’s no other way. So, today and every day…..I will trust and obey.

You may not be facing this exact same situation, but we all know what it feels like when “Life’s too much.” So, call out to Him. Listen and do what He says (even if it sounds dumb). And then give Him thanks, because He will walk each step with you.

Goodnight, friends!

Home is where the heart is

I’ve spent this amazing Saturday at home.

My in-laws came over. We got some things done around the house. We sat on the couch and talked. We cooked. And ate. A lot. And in the midst of family time, I looked around at our new house and thought….

I love this house.

For those of you who don’t know….we just “down-sized.” Our new house isn’t as nice, or as new. But it is home.

It’s not about the perfectly painted walls, or the extravagant light fixtures. It’s about the people that I get to live in this house with. It’s about Parker riding his scooter through the house at 90 mph. It’s about the printer sitting on the dining room table, because we don’t have an “office.” It’s about the nasty floors in the foyer because the hubs just pressure washed the front porch. It’s about dirty floors, and creaky doors, and much much more. It’s the imperfections that make this house so perfect.

Over the past year, I’ve helped people as an “interior designer.” Not because I went to school for that, but because I have a passion for helping people make their house a “home.” I love nice things and flashy blings….but most of all-I LOVE giving people permission to flaunt the imperfections of their home. Your kids love to draw? Frame their artwork and hang it on the wall. You have one of your great grandmother’s quilts? Use it as your master bedroom bedspread and center everything else around it. Your mom handed down her old piano but it doesn’t match anything in your house? WHO CARES! Use it and share the story behind it. Let me share a quick story…

Abby wanted to take our (80 year old widowed) neighbor a cupcake this afternoon. She invited us in, and while we were there she shared stories with us. Each piece of furniture in her home has a story. It’s not brand new, or top of the line. But it’s sentimental. It has meaning. She didn’t tell us how much each piece of furniture cost. She told us how much each piece of furniture meant! That’s the kind of home I want to have. I want to give my family permission to make memories in our home. I want to flaunt our imperfections. I want everyone who comes in our home to feel invited and comfortable.

I have a sign that hangs on our door that says “Welcome to our Home. We don’t do fancy or fussy…But we sure are fun and friendly.” It makes me laugh every time I see it, because honestly–my kids are extremely fussy! But the rest is true.

Don’t expect for our home to always be clean or perfect…..but expect for our door to always be open!

Enjoy your home. Don’t be so quick to replace your furniture because of the wear and tear….reminisce about where the wear and tear came from. Each stain and hole has a story. Share it with others. It’s what makes your house a home. (ordinary is extraordinary!)

Goodnight, friends!

Hey! How are you?

Have you ever been asked that question, or ever asked someone that question?

Probably so.

It’s such a common way to greet someone in passing. And the common response is almost always “I’m fine. How are you?” Which is then reciprocated with “I’m fine. Good to see you.”

I mean, come on!!! Are you REALLY fine? 9 times out of 10, no! We’re all guilty of this daily lie. We tell it to the cashier at Target. We tell it to the bagger at Kroger. We tell it to people we pass in the hallway at church, or the moms we pass when we’re dropping our kids off at school. We even tell it to our husbands when we’re sulking around the house and he asks “What’s wrong?”…and we say “Nothing. I’m fine.” Yeah. Right. He knows it, and we know it.

So, why do we continue to lie. Day in and day out. Over and over. Most of the time (for me) it’s for the sake of time. I mean, do you REALLY want me to tell you how I am. If so, take a seat and grab a cup of coffee, cause this is gonna take a while. Sometimes I lie because I don’t really know you and I know you don’t really care how I am. But most of the time, I just want you to see my smile and hope you believe me when I say “Oh, I’m fine! Things are good! Life is great!”

It’s ok to NOT be ok. Just rest in that for a minute. It. Is. Ok. To. NOT. Be. Ok. But, let me take this a little further…..WHY are we not ok? Something I heard at church tonight made me think. Yeah, it’s ok to not be ok. I’ve always heard that. But WHY am I not ok? Why is my spirit so unsettled? Why do I have anxiety? Why am I exhausted? Why have I had a headache for 3 weeks straight?

Here’s what (Chad Lunsford) said tonight that was like a REVELATION to me…..

My feelings of {anxiety, depression, exhaustion, unsettledness, fatigue, failure} are just a misunderstanding of God’s expectations of me.

….read that again.

Whoa! When he said that, I realized that I’m trying to live up to expectations that are unattainable. And not only that….they don’t come from the Lord. They’re expectations that I unknowingly am setting for myself….as a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and Christian.

I’ve already confessed to y’all that I end most days feeling like a failure. Let me tell you why……because I snapped at my kids…. because I didn’t check off anything on my to-do list….because I STILL haven’t gone by to see my husband’s new office….because we’re out of groceries and we’ve eaten pizza 4 times this week!!!!!!!!!

But does God look down and say: “Tonya, you are slacking. Step it up a notch. I’m disappointed in your performance today.” No, he doesn’t. Just like in Luke 10: 38-42, when Martha invites Jesus to her house and is running around like a crazy person: cooking, cleaning, making sure everyone is comfortable….but her sister Mary is sitting at Jesus’s feet just enjoying His company. Martha gets mad because she is DOING everything while Mary is DOING “nothing.” And Jesus says to Martha, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. Only one thing is essential, and Mary has chosen it.” (The Message translation)

Only ONE thing is essential. To abide in the Lord. And to abide means to obey, observe, follow, uphold, accept, respect. That’s all He wants from us. Those are His expectations of us. Nothing more.

Just ABIDE in Him and stop trying to live up to impossible expectations!!! That’s what I’m going to do!

Goodnight, friends!

Sunflowers make me smile :)

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It’s the little things that can make your day….

Our Keurig isn’t working, so I went this morning to get a red bull and found my favorite “summer edition”….and it made me smile 🙂

I had to work this morning and my little man sat there so content for FOUR hours!….and it made me smile 🙂

I went to pick up Abby from a friend’s house and she didn’t whine or complain or ask to stay longer…and it made me smile 🙂

I took the kids to the movies and we had the best time!…..and it made me smile 🙂

I had to run to the grocery store and found SUNFLOWERS (that I’ve been looking for for weeks!!)….and it made me SMILE 🙂

I came home, unloaded the groceries, cut my sunflowers, fixed the kids dinner, ate dinner by myself (while Michael was at church)….and it made smile 🙂

Michael came home and told me about a new business in town that he thinks I’d like….and it made me smile 🙂

My kids begged to make a pallet in our room tonight, and even though I wish they’d just sleep in their own beds….it made me smile 🙂

Now I’m laying in bed…Abby is on the floor making music.lys, Parker is playing the harmonica, Michael is finishing up some work on his computer, and I’m….smiling 🙂

Y’all……don’t forget to notice the small things. Because there may be some days that don’t consist of “big”….”monumental” moments. But every day has small moments that are just as important. And tonight, my fresh sunflowers, that cost $6.99, make me smile! 🙂

 

Comparison is the thief of JOY!

So, I’m continuing to get feedback and requests from friends and followers of this blog. I’m actually blown away by the feedback I’m getting. I’m so glad that my transparency is touching your lives. It’s actually blessing mine too! There’s something powerful about being real and sharing your life and testimony with others.

Tonight a good friend of mine pointed out the problem that social media presents with comparison. I’ve touched on this a little in a previous post, but tonight I want to camp here for a bit.

SOCIAL. MEDIA. IS. A. HIGHLIGHT. REEL.

People post good (sometimes fake) things that are happening in their lives. People post a picture that took them 15 tries to get right. People take 100 pictures and videos of special events in their lives ONLY so that they can post them on social media. How many of those pictures do you think are being printed out and put in an album?? I’ve actually known wives who have logged on to their husband’s FB account and posted something about how “great their wife is”…..wow. That’s a little extreme. Y’all, this is what we’re comparing ourselves to. WHY?!?!

God blesses us differently. His will for us is not to compare ourselves to other people so that we feel inadequate. Over the past couple of years, I’ve started seeking my identity in Christ….not in man. (but it’s a daily struggle)

I’m not the weight I wish I was…..I like to eat too much!

I don’t live in a brand new, super huge house….my husband started his own business and we’re having to cut back financially.

I don’t have perfect kids…..my kids intimidate me!

I don’t dress cute everyday…..I rarely even shower!

I don’t drive the car of my dreams….mine has 140,000 miles and I just want to pay it off!

I’m not supermom, or wife of the year…..I have to take anxiety medication just to be halfway tolerable!

But all of that is ok. It’s ok because I’m ok with it. I wish I could lose several pounds, but I’m healthy and that is a blessing. My house isn’t huge, but we have a roof over our heads and that is a blessing. My kids aren’t perfect, but they’re healthy and that is a blessing. I don’t have name brand clothes, but I have a closet full of “decent clothes” and that is a blessing. I don’t drive a a brand new car, but mine can get us from point A to point B and that is a blessing. I’m not supermom or trophy wife, but I have a husband and 2 kids that love me and that is a blessing.

If you get wrapped up in comparison, it WILL steal your joy. And you know where that comes from?….SATAN! He comes to kill, steal, and destroy your joy. But when your strength is found in the Joy of the LORD, you will be able to stand straight with your head lifted high.

You were created in the image of God. Does that not make you feel special??? He didn’t create you in the image of a donkey, or a whale. He didn’t create you in the image of your best friend, or your sister-n-law. He created you in HIS image. And everything He reflects is rooted deep down within you….and me. You are unique, and your purpose is unique. If you try to be someone else, then you are cutting yourself short…..because only YOU can fulfill YOUR purpose. Dwell on that tonight. Find JOY in who God says you are. Because you are the only you. God created you…..and He doesn’t make mistakes 🙂

Goodnight, friends!